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How to Spend a Perfect Day in Budapest

A panoramic of the city, Budapest, Hungary
A panoramic of the city, Budapest, Hungary | © Gabor Komlosi / Culture Trip
Experience life at a slower pace in Budapest. Spend a perfect day exploring the city’s ancient architecture and recharging at the Széchenyi Thermal Bath. Culture buffs will be blown away by all the museums, libraries, academies, palaces and religious buildings that make Budapest the envy of other European capital cities.

Morning

Make sure to visit the famous Fisherman’s Bastion, a highly stylised rampart overlooking the Danube River that mixes Neo-Gothic and Neo-Romanesque styles. Take a romantic stroll along the terrace, which offers many fantastic photo opportunities.

Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest, Hungary © Gabor Komlosi / Culture Trip

Stay in the Castle District and head to Matthias Church and then the Buda Castle, both of which look beautiful bathed in soft morning light. Budapest is often overlooked when it comes to architecture, but the Hungarian capital has more jaw-dropping buildings than most other European cities.

Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary © Gabor Komlosi / Culture Trip
A bandstand next to Matthias Church, Budapest, Hungary © Gabor Komlosi / Culture Trip

Afternoon

Ride the Budapest Castle Hill Funicular from Buda Castle down to the Széchenyi Chain Bridge for a picturesque route to the city centre. The funicular, one of the first in Europe, was destroyed during the Second World War, but re-opened in 1986 and is still widely used today.

Budapest Hill Funicular © Gabor Komlosi / Culture Trip
View of Buda Castle from the Chain Bridge, Budapest, Hungary © Gabor Komlosi / Culture Trip
Chain Bridge, Budapest, Hungary © Gabor Komlosi / Culture Trip

Stop and grab a kolbász, a traditional Hungarian sausage usually smoked at one of Budapest’s many food markets.

Food Market, Budapest, Hungary © Gabor Komlosi / Culture Trip

Walk towards the St. Stephen’s Basilica, a Neoclassical masterpiece that was once the site of an 18th-century theatre. Head up to the cupola and look across the river for views of the Buda side of the city.

St. Stephen's Basilica © Gabor Komlosi / Culture Trip

Stop to grab a flower-shaped ice cream from a Gelarto Rosa, directly next to St. Stephen’s Basilica.

Flower shaped ice cream, Budapest, Hungary © Gabor Komlosi / Culture Trip

Stop at the Hungarian Parliament Building and take a seat in Kossuth Lajos Square – a great place for people watching.

Hungarian Parliament Building © Gabor Komlosi / Culture Trip

Evening

Take a well-earned rest at the Széchenyi Baths. The thermal spa, located in City Park, is perhaps Budapest’s most popular attraction. With 15 indoor baths and three enormous outdoor pools, it’s where locals come to socialise and rejuvenate.

Szechenyi Thermal Spa, Budapest, Hungary Gábor Komlósi / © Culture Trip

Spend the evening at one of the city’s romkocsma, or ‘ruin bars’. Head to the atmospheric, grungy Szimpla Kert and grab a drink surrounded by half-faded graffiti and reclaimed neon signs in the open-air courtyard.

Szimpla Kert Bar, Hungary, Budapest © Gabor Komlosi / Culture Trip

Looking for the perfect place to start and end your day?

Hilton Budapest

Chain Hotel
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© Hilton Budapest
The newly renovated Hilton Budapest is located in the stunning Royal Castle District, a UNESCO World Heritage site and, conveniently, only 15-minutes from Budapest’s city centre. The stylish, modern guest rooms and social spaces within this historic 16th-century building offer unrivalled views of the River Danube. Guests can relax in the Lobby Cafe Bar & Restaurant and enjoy Hungarian and international cuisine with great views of the Fisherman’s Bastion at the Icon restaurant. It’s an ideal base to make the most of the city.
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